US Senate News:
Source: United States Senator for Texas Ted Cruz
Individuals and households from the following 108 counties are currently eligible for Individual Assistance from FEMA:
Angelina, Aransas, Anderson, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brown, Bosque, Bowie, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Cherokee, Colorado, Collin, Comal, Comanche, Cooke, Coryell, Dallas, DeWitt, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Falls, Fannin, Free Stone, Fort Bend, Galveston, Gillespie, Gonzales, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Hood, Houston, Hunt, Jasper, Jackson, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Jones, Johnson, Kaufman, Kendall, Lavaca, Liberty, Limestone, Lubbock, Madison, Matagorda, Maverick, McLennan, Medina, Milam, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Rockwall, Rusk, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Scurry, Shelby, Smith, Stephens, Taylor, Tom Green, Tarrant, Travis, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Val Verde, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Wharton, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson, Wise, Wood.
Each of the counties that were not included under the initial declaration remain under active review by FEMA.
The State of Texas has a website (www.tdem.texas.gov/warm) for residents to self-report damages to their homes from the storm. Texans living in an undesignated county can utilize this survey to assist the State in quantifying damages in their community.
To apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance, click here, download the FEMA smartphone app here, or call 800-621-3362. Once you get to the front page of the FEMA website, click “Apply Online” to get started.
If you have homeowner’s insurance, file a claim before applying for FEMA assistance.
What you need to apply:
Proof of occupancy or ownership;
Proof of identification;
Insurance determination letter; and
Description of damage, including photos if possible
Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for:
Emergency home repairs for disaster-related damage to the primary residence.
Uninsured and underinsured personal property losses.
Lodging expenses reimbursement, for individuals whose home was inaccessible or unhabitable during the disaster, if not covered by insurance or any other program.
Medical expenses incurred from the disaster.
Other serious disaster-related expenses.
To report a fraudulent incident, call the FEMA Fraud Hotline at 800-323-8603.
For more information on FEMA resources that may be able to help your community, visit here.
WINTER STORM INSURANCE RESOURCES:
To learn more about winter storm insurance through the Texas Department of Insurance, visit here.
U. S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION RESOURCES:
If you are located in a disaster declared area, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA). For more information, visit here.
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE RESOURCES:
DISASTER RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS:
For disaster relief and recovery resources offered by the American Red Cross, visit here.
To volunteer with the American Red Cross, sign up here.
To partner with the Salvation Army, visit here.
Individuals, corporations, and volunteers in the state visit the Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Texas VOAD which has a list of vetted disaster relief organizations providing services to storm victims. Texas VOAD represents more than three dozen faith-based, community, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations.
OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES:
For disaster assistance through the Texas Health and Human Services, visit here.
TIP TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FRAUD/SCAMS:
Don’t wire money or pay with reloadable debit cards or gift cards. There is no legitimate reason to request those forms of payment.
Don’t offer personal financial information over the phone. Know who you are dealing with and always ask for identification.
Take your time to decide. In Texas, contractors are required to provide a Notice of Cancelation — which gives you the right to change your mind within three business days — if the transaction occurs in your home. Even if the transaction does not occur in your home, you can still request three days; there is no legitimate reason to refuse this request.
Get the agreement in writing. Read the contract carefully, and if you don’t understand every word, take it to an expert. Never sign a contract with blank spaces to be filled in.
Make sure the contract details all work to be performed, the costs, a projected completion date and how to negotiate changes and settle disputes.
Do your research. Scam artists will usually come to you to offer their services — either at your door, on the phone or through email — so be especially wary of solicitors.
Get estimates from multiple contractors and your insurance company. Reject any offer that seems too good to be true.
Ask for references from past customers.
Use the Better Business Bureau, www.bbb.org, and internet search engines. Fraudulent firms change names frequently, so search the web for their address and phone number, and include terms like “review,” “scam” and “complaint.”
FEMA does not certify contractors.
Verify insurance. Contractors should have disability and workers’ compensation insurance. If they don’t, you may be liable for accidents on your property.
Make sure contractors have the proper licensing and are bonded.
Ensure the contractors obtain the necessary permits to do the job.
Demand satisfaction. Don’t sign completion papers or make final payment until the work is done correctly.
Take a picture of your contractor, their vehicle and license plate.
Take a picture of your contractor’s business card and driver’s license.
Report your concerns. Potential fraud should be reported to your local law enforcement agency. You can also contact the Texas Office of the Attorney General by calling 800-621-0508 or call the free FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 available 24-hours a day.